The Wombats – Fix Yourself, Not the World (Album Review)

The Wombats – Fix Yourself, Not the World (Album Review)

Fifteen years have passed since The Wombats had first danced their way to Indie Rock success with the sound of Joy Division. Perhaps nothing was more obvious than how they wore their badge of influence on their sleeves. And it paid off.

Formed in 2003, in Liverpool, England, by Matthew Murphy (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards), Tord Øverland Knudsen (bass, guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), and Dan Haggis (drums, percussion, keyboards, backing vocals), The Wombats have released five proper studio albums–from 2007’s A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation to the latest, Fix Yourself, Not the World.

Arrived at the shops on January 14, 2022, via AWAL Records, Fix Yourself, Not the World contains all the fine ingredients that endeared The Wombats to enthusiasts of New Wave and Indie Rock music.

The Wombats’ fifth opens straightaway with the dancefloor staple “Flip Me Upside Down,” to be followed by the Psychedelic-tinged “This Car Drives All by Itself,” which starts dramatically then builds up into the same neat beat salad. And then there is the engagingly delicious Synthpop-savvy, Post-Punk stomper “If You Ever Leave, I’m Coming with You,” which will remind the initiated of songs like “Undercover Martyn” by Two Door Cinema Club, “An Honest Mistake” by The Bravery, and “Swings & Waterslides” by Viola Beach.

With “Ready for the High,” The Wombats then step onto the accelerator some more, exuding flickering pulses and crunchy guitar punches. The ensuing piano-led “Method to the Madness” is a change of mood and pace–Sophistipop/Neo-Romantic balladry. After this melodrama, Murphy, Knudsen, and Haggis return the listener to the center of the glittery discotheque with the angular and infectious “People Don’t Change People, Time Does”–another display of the band’s Morrissey-reminiscent lyricism.

Slightly funky and a dash of Disco, “Everything I Love Is Going to Die” is a surefire hit; an ear candy for its slinky guitar lines. Another Guitar Pop gem then follows in the form of “Work Is Easy, Life Is Hard”–a lovely throwback to baggy Britpop–echoing The Soup Dragons’ “Divine Thing,” Jesus Jones’s “International Bright Young Thing,” and Blur’s “Girls & Boys.”

With “Wildfire,” The Wombats seem channeling the Duran Duran in them–the Andy Taylor-esque guitars, the LeBon falsettos, and the chic and bouncy John Taylor bass lines! The head-bobbing moment smoothly extends to the next track, the electrifying “Don’t Poke the Bear.”

Second to the last song, “Worry” is yet another anthemic future classic. Finally, the ever playful and tuneful English band wraps up its wonderful new record with the short, starry, spectral “Fix Yourself, Then the World.”

In the still pandemic-burdened world, music remains a comfort for the spirits of those whose movements and emotions are in synchronicity with the pendulum of rhythm and melodies. For New Wavers and Indie Rockers, The Wombats place again themselves in the frontline of the genre.

So now, while you are still at it, treat yourself to a dose of The Wombats’ new powerhouse record! That is why Cryptic Rock gives Fix Yourself, Not the World 4 out of 5 stars.

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aLfie vera mella
elfid[email protected]

Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music. aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He started writing album reviews for Cryptic Rock in 2015. In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf?; in 2021, his first book of poetry, Pag-íhip sa Dáhon ng Kahápon [Blowing Leaves of Yesterday]. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. aLfie is a dedicated father to his now 13-year-old son, Evawwen; and a loving husband to Kathryn Mella, who herself moonlights also as a writer aside from holding a degree in Bachelor of Arts, Major in Sociology.

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